The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong has sounded the alarm for cryptocurrency exchanges within its jurisdiction. The regulatory body has mandated that exchanges must submit applications for operating licenses by the end of February 2024, failing which they will be required to suspend their services by the end of May 2024.
Application Window Closing Soon for Crypto Platforms
Hong Kong’s SFC has set the deadline of February 29, 2024, for cryptocurrency platforms to seek official permission to continue their business activities. This move is part of the region’s effort to regulate the digital asset market and protect investors.
The regulatory authority has been clear in its directive: exchanges that do not comply with the licensing requirements by the stipulated date will need to shut down their operations in Hong Kong by May 31, 2024.
Regulatory Oversight Gains Momentum
The licensing initiative began in June 2023 when Hong Kong embarked on establishing a controlled environment for cryptocurrency trading. Julia Leung, the CEO of SFC, supported this initiative, highlighting its importance in investor protection and risk management. The license application process entails a series of stringent conditions including a significant capital requirement, strict anti-money laundering protocols, and the appointment of qualified management personnel.
To date, over 80 entities, including the world’s top exchange Binance through its VAEXC branch, have applied for the coveted license. Analysts note that many firms are eyeing Hong Kong as a potential crypto hub, especially with mainland China’s ongoing restrictions on cryptocurrency-related services.